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Taiwanese Sesame Oil Chicken Soup (麻油雞湯)

This hearty, warming chicken soup has a rich flavor yet is simple to make! With only six ingredients, it is a classic staple of Taiwanese home cooking. 

Taiwanese Sesame Oil Chicken Soup, ma you ji

Taiwanese sesame oil chicken soup (麻油雞湯, ma you ji tang) is a traditional Taiwanese dish featuring sesame oil, ginger, and rice wine. The nutty, warming and bright flavors from these few ingredients give this quick and easy dish great depth of flavor. The healthy benefits from the ginger and sesame oil also make this the perfect dish to enjoy when you are feeling under the weather. 

Some people add anywhere from half a bottle to an entire bottle of rice wine to their sesame chicken soup! I found that the wine flavor can become too overpowering with that amount. My recipe for sesame ginger chicken soup is the simplest version with only 6 ingredients. However, you can add other ingredients to the soup to make it more filling, which I’ve listed in the ingredients section below. 

Ingredient Notes

  1. Black Sesame Oil: Traditionally, black sesame oil is used in this recipe. Compared to normal sesame oil, it has a deeper, richer taste. However, it is more expensive. If you cannot source this ingredient, you could substitute it with toasted sesame oil which also works great in this recipe.
  2. Bone-in Skin-on Chicken: If you would like to reduce the amount of oil that ends up in the soup, you can choose to remove the skin (but that will also reduce the amount of flavor in the soup). 
  3. Rice Wine: The correct type of rice wine is 米酒(michiu). It is often sold in tall 750 mL glass bottles. If you can’t find this particular type of rice wine, you could try substituting it with mirin (Japanese rice cooking wine). 
  4. Other Ingredients: Some of the most common ingredients added to this soup are: 
    1. Shiitake mushrooms
    2. Jujube (Chinese red dates)
    3. Goji berries
    4. Noodles

Recipe Notes

  1. Searing chicken: If the chicken is too crowded in the pan, it will steam and cook without picking up any color. So, make sure that the chicken pieces have some space between each other so they can sear/brown properly. 
  2. Water Amount: Depending on whether you are using a pan/pot/wok, the amount of water you will need can vary greatly. Try not to add more than 1 additional cup of water (4 total cups), or the soup could become watered down and bland. 

Taiwanese Sesame Oil Chicken (麻油雞湯)

This hearty, warming chicken soup has a rich flavor yet is simple to make! With only six ingredients, it is a classic staple of Taiwanese home cooking.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Chinese, Taiwanese
Keyword: ma you ji, sesame chicken soup, sesame ginger chicken soup, sesame oil chicken soup
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs bone-in skin-on chicken thigh or drumsticks 900g
  • 2 tbsp black sesame oil or toasted sesame oil, plus more to taste
  • 2 inches ginger in large thinly sliced pieces
  • 1 cup rice wine 240 mL
  • 3 cups boiling water plus more as needed
  • salt to taste
  • green onion chopped (optional, for garnish)

Instructions

  • Heat a large pan (or pot/wok) over medium heat.
  • Add the black sesame oil and sliced ginger into the pot. Fry the ginger slices until they reach a deep golden brown, around 7-10 minutes. Remove the ginger and set aside for later.
  • Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the chicken to the pan. Sear the chicken until it is browned on all sides. (You may need to sear in batches if the chicken is too crowded in the pan. **Note 1)
  • Add the ginger from before, rice wine, boiling water, and salt to the pan. The water amount should be enough to cover most of the chicken. (If not, add more. **Note 2)
  • Bring the soup up to a boil. Lower the heat so that the soup is at a simmer.
  • Cover and simmer the soup for around 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked completely and the wine flavor has mellowed out.
  • Taste the soup and add more salt and black sesame oil as needed. Optionally garnish with sliced green onion before serving.

Notes

  1. Searing chicken: If the chicken is too crowded in the pan, it will steam and cook without picking up any color. So, make sure that the chicken pieces have some space between each other so they can sear/brown properly.
  2. Water Amount: Depending on whether you are using a pan/pot/wok, the amount of water you will need can vary greatly. Try not to add more than 1 additional cup of water (4 total cups), or the soup could become watered down and bland.

How to Make Sesame Oil Chicken Soup 

Heat a large pan (or pot/wok) over medium heat. Add the black sesame oil and sliced ginger into the pot. Fry the ginger slices until they reach a deep golden brown, around 7-10 minutes. Remove the ginger and set aside for later.

Ginger fryng
Ginger Fried

Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the chicken to the pan. Sear the chicken until it is browned on all sides.  (You may need to sear in batches if the chicken is too crowded in the pan.)

Chicken Seared for Sesame Ginger Chicken Soup

Add the ginger from before, rice wine, boiling water, and salt to the pan. The water amount should be enough to cover most of the chicken. (If not, add more.)

Water wine and salt added to sesame oil chicken soup

Bring the soup up to a boil. Lower the heat so that the soup is at a simmer. Cover and simmer the soup for around 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked completely and the wine flavor has mellowed out.

Taste the soup and add more salt and black sesame oil as needed. Optionally garnish with sliced green onion before serving.

Taiwanese Sesame Oil Chicken Soup, ma you ji diagonal

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